HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. – Fueled by three-goal performances from Todd Baxter and Cameron Flint, the No. 6 seeded Denver defeated No. 3 seeded Johns Hopkins 14-9 in the second game of the Hofstra quarterfinals.
With the victory, the Pioneers (15-2) advance to the first NCAA Tournament Semifinals for the first time in team history.
“I can’t express to you how proud I am of these guys because they have just done everything that we as coaches have asked of them and more,” head coach Bill Tierney said. “Johns Hopkins is an outstanding team and they gave us everything they had. It was a great showing for the sport of lacrosse and I am just so proud that our team has the opportunity to experience it and make history.”
Jeremy Noble led the way for the Pioneers with five points off three goals and two assists, while junior Mark Matthews finished with a goal and two assists to go along with Baxter’s and Flint’s three goal performances.
Baxter, who suffered a high angle sprain and partial MCL tear two weeks ago, and Flint scored two goals each during a six-goal run by the Pioneers during a 16:49 stretch during the first and second quarters, rallying after the Blue Jays (13-3) scored the game’s first goal.
Johns Hopkins battled back in the second half, winning 12-of-15 face-offs after the break and shrinking Denver’s lead to one goal at 8-7 with 7:16 remaining in the third.
However, Baxter scored his third goal with 4:47 left in the third sparked another Pioneer run – this one five-straight goals that stretched Denver’s lead to 13-7 – before Baxter was removed for the rest of the game.
The Blue Jays attempted a comeback, scoring with 6:20 remaining, but Denver’s defense clamped down and Noble buried a man-up goal into an empty net to seal the victory with 2:18 on the clock.
Chris Boland had two goals and four helpers for the Blue Jays, and Kyle Wharton added a hat trick.